Unless you have been living in a cave for the past two weeks, you know that the fourth battle between Manny Pacquiao and Juan Manuel Marquez ended with Pacquiao laying face-first, unconscious following a massive straight right hand from Marquez. This was the first time Pacquiao had been knocked out since 1999 and it was indeed very scary, not to mention surreal witnessing such a big star laying there for so long without any movement or sign of life. As a result of the sudden, shocking knockout loss much has been debated about the long-term effects such a damaging blow can have on Pacquiao, not just physically but mentally as well.
Golden Boy president and former world champion Oscar de la Hoya says that Pacquiao will always feel that punch, and that it is up to him as to whether he can make it back or not. Here is what De la Hoya had to say:
"That's going to be the million dollar question because psychologically he is always going to be feeling that punch. He's always going to be looking out for that punch. He will be doubting himself (and telling himself) 'can I do this again' - even in training, even in training (he will be doubting himself). History shows this, and I'm not making this up...history shows that it's impossible to (fully) come back (from that kind of knockout). Can he come back? It's up to him. You look at Paul Williams (at how he got knocked out). Back in the day Thomas Hearns knocked out Roberto Duran and he landed face first. You look at Ricky Hatton at how he got knocked out. You look at history in boxing." De la Hoya told Power 106.
De la Hoya does bring up some relevant fighters that were knocked out. Hatton went into a three-year retirement after Pacquiao dusted him in two. Duran being knocked out by Hearns really had more to do with the "Hitman" being way bigger than he was. Duran would defeat Iran Barkley, one of the few to defeat Hearns, to win a middleweight title five years later. As for Williams, the knockout loss to Martinez may well have taken something out of him, though sadly we will never know for sure after he suffered a motorcycle accident that left him paralyzed from the waist down.
De la Hoya was stopped twice in his professional career. One was in his final fight, which coincidentally was against Pacquiao. De la Hoya retired on his stool after eight one-sided rounds. The other was in 2004 when he squared off with Bernard Hopkins for the undisputed middleweight championship. Hopkins hit Oscar with a left hook to the liver in the ninth round that dropped the "Golden Boy" to his knees, moaning in pain. Obviously, neither of these knockouts were the same as Pacquiao's, but at least Oscar can provide some perspective on what it is like to return from a bad KO loss.
So the question remains...will Manny Pacquiao have a negative psychological effect from his loss? It's a great debate, but frankly, we will just have to wait and see. He certainly didn't have any issue coming back from his first one.